The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tiger rues lack of privacy

Washington: Tiger Woods blasted the owner of the South African game reserve where he proposed to Swedish model Elin Nordegren in a column on his website, saying he was disgusted at the way he was exploited.

Woods proposed to his long-time girlfriend after playing in the Presidents Cup golf matches, in which the United States and international squads shared the trophy when Woods and Ernie Els were level in a darkness-halted playoff.

“The only positive out of the whole trip is that Elin didn’t say no,” Woods wrote in the internet message posted on Tuesday.

Woods ripped Adrian Gardiner, founder of the Shamwari Game Reserve, saying he was “betrayed” and exploited for the sake of publicity after being promised privacy.

“In a word, I’m disgusted about the way he handled things,” Woods wrote. “I had been planning to ask Elin to marry me for months and wanted to do it in a private, unique atmosphere. It was such a great moment in our lives, and he cheapened the experience because he was so self-serving. Needless to say, we will never go back.”

Woods and friends went on a four-day stay at the reserve. The world’s top-ranked golfer said he was promised privacy but by the end was being hustled for pictures and having newspapers tipped off on his whereabouts.

“He promised to protect my privacy... But went back on his word, not only alerting the newspapers about my engagement to Elin, but inviting the mayor and local schoolchildren to the airport when we departed.”

“Even worse, he took pictures at the reserve to promote his website, and had us detained in a holding cell at the airport so we would pose for more photos with the mayor.

“Saying we were uncomfortable and totally shocked is an understatement.”

“At the airport, the mayor is saying congratulations, and I haven’t even told my parents about the engagement,” he wrote. “I really wanted to talk to them about it before the news got out, but it was too late.

“For a place that supposedly prides itself on privacy, they totally let us down.”

Woods said the hassle was a sad end to a lovely time in South Africa, which included him swimming alongside seals in chilly water and speaking privately with Nelson Mandela after the Cup’s opening ceremony.

“He said he had kept up with me and asked about my dad,” Woods wrote. “In terms of people I respect, he’s right behind my parents. He’s an awesome man.” (AFP)

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